Tag Archives: Rants

Rebuilding Lion’s Arch…?

GW2 Lion's Arch rebuilt crafting stationsWhen the latest patch got released, I headed over to the forum to read the patch notes as I always do, but when I read the part about Lion’s Arch, I logged into the game to see it with my own eyes. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was – and yes, I may have ranted and raged a bit here in front of my PC. But let me explain what happened.

When, before the patch, I had read that the Zepyhrites would be offering their help to rebuild Lion’s Arch, I had imagined that we, as players, would be helping as well. I thought that this meant that with the next few patches, this would be part of the living story content. Imagine this: helping the citizens of Lion’s Arch out and with the next Living Story release, the bank would be back in place. After that, the lion statue, then the Trading Post. Up until in the very end, the portals would finally be back and fully working!

Or why not let us all collaborate? Make it a race between the regions: EU and US servers – which region gets Lion’s Arch back on its feet first? Different challenges, activities, etc. drop and award different special materials that are needed for the rebuilding process. Make it a game, give us a mini lion’s statue that is placed in our home instance as a reward. Make it fun!

GW2 Lion's Arch rebuilt mapInstead, after logging into the game, I found that everything we need is already back. Yes, Lion’s Arch itself is still in ruins! But it’s fully functional again. 3 crafting areas, 4 banks, 4 trading posts, the portals, mystic forge, etc. One could say that it’s better than before – or more convenient, as you can choose which area of Lion’s Arch you want to spend your time at while putting items into the bank. This isn’t “helping rebuild”. In fact, I fail to see why they would need any help from the Zephyrites or anybody else. The amount of vendors, banks, trading posts (just think of all the trading post fees we’re paying!) should be more than enough to pay for the rebuilding of the rest of the city.

This was a swoosh with a wand and some fairies granted us a wish and made it flawlessly perfect. But at the same time, at least for me, utterly boring. I had been looking forward to getting the rebuilding process as content, to tell all the future newcomers: “I was there. I saw this city before it was attacked, I saw it and defended it while it was attacked, I saw it when it was in ruins and I was here helping rebuild it! This is partly my doing!” Instead, I was handed everything on a silver platter within a few minutes.

We can maybe help make the city look pretty again, but for me, there’s no sense of urgency to it. And yeah, while it may be good to give citizens back their homes, I have to admit that as long as I don’t get my own house, I don’t care where the NPCs are living either. ;) At the same time, I do hope that we will be asked to help out in some way in a future patch and get to rebuild something. Maybe not a trading post or the portals, but at this point, anything would be nice.

And this is probably also why I shouldn’t assume and imagine things. Expectations can lead to great disappointment…

The excitement of getting an expansion

MMO shelfIf you’re following Rift, you may have noticed that they’re handling their second expansion, Plane of Water, differently than they did the previous one or than what other MMO developers are usually doing: Instead of giving you everything at once, they are giving us the expansion piece by piece. The reason they stated is that they don’t want their players to wait until every last thing is done and release all features together, but instead, they want to give us the features when they’re ready. The first part was a new crafting profession, Dream Weaving, together with new dimensions. The profession mainly makes items for your dimensions and it can also craft the keys for the new dimensions. The second part was the PvP dimensions feature which got released with the last patch.

The next part will be the four new souls (something like “skill trees” for the non-Rift players) which we were told would arrive some time in May (but not late May!). I’m excited about that, because it means my warrior will get a healing soul and bookahnerk’s mage will get a tank soul. So, we can be an unconventional healer/tank duo!

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is really great to get those features as soon as they are done. I am slowly levelling up Dream Weaving and others are creating their first PvP dimensions. It gives us something to do and I have had those short moments of excitement when logging on after a patch knowing there will be something new in the game. But at the same time, I am not sure I really prefer it over the “traditional expansions”.

I still clearly and fondly remember my very first MMO expansion: World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. Bookahnerk, his cousin, a friend and I drove to a city nearby for a midnight sale that a shop was having. We went out for dinner first, then went to that store. They had us wait in front and at first, I felt a bit silly. World of Warcraft was my first MMO and here we were, in front of a store, at night in cold January 2007, waiting for them to open the doors, so we can buy an expansion and it would be very late until we got back home. The employees of the store actually walked along the line and handed out free hot beverages (coffee at 11pm – smart idea! :p).

While waiting there, we started talking with some people behind us. As is usual, we first checked who played which faction (For the Horde!), then we talked about which servers we played on, which classes were our mains and so on. At some point, I had a look behind us as I had not paid attention to the line and I was shocked: The line that hadn’t looked too long in the beginning had grown huge. I had not been able to see the end of it. All those people were there only for one expansion? After they opened the doors, I think it took us 20 minutes until we finally got to buy our expansions.

After that, we still had about a one hour drive back home. I installed the expansion, downloaded another patch and created my blood elf mage at which point I fell into bed. But to be honest, it had not been about playing in the night. It had been about going there, meeting other players, and doing something with friends. This is something that I miss with the digital expansions only. But while it is a nice memory, this post isn’t about digital or physical expansions. It’s about the lack of an “all at once” expansion (or, in ArenaNet’s case, developers considering not doing an expansion at all).

The next morning, I was ready to get into the expansion. Finally! I did not even know where to start: Blood elf starting area with my mage or should I rather take my main character to the expansion region? Or did I actually want to make a short trip to Alliance side and see what the Draenei were all about? Did I want to check out the new crafting profession? There were so many things I wanted to see and check out! I felt the magic again that I had last experienced when I had first set foot into World of Warcraft. The feeling that I always get when I explore a new MMO for the first time.

And this is the reason why I’m sad that we’re not having this with Rift (and maybe Guild Wars 2 as well). As nice as it is getting expansion content piece by piece and not having to wait, it also takes away this magic moment of feeling like the game is brand new again.

One month of daily blog posts

I know, I know, I still have one more day to go. However, I have a certain blog post I want to post tomorrow, so I decided to have the “end of November” blog post with a recap today instead. ;)

Fireworks_2nd anniversary_2

I participated in November’s NaBloPoMo as a substitute to NaNoWriMo. I have to say, comparing both, that NaNoWriMo is definitely harder. While you can skip a day of writing and just write more the day afterwards, a novel with 50,000 words altogether is still an awful lot! On the other hand, blogging every day meant that I could not skip a day. But I could just make a very short post with only a picture in it. I think I did this twice this month. Actually, only once: “A charr and her swords” which really did not need many words. The other one was my invitation to our guild’s Christmas party, which does have more than just a picture in it.

With having to publish something every day came some pressure. A blog is usually in a public space unlike a novel that you can write just for yourself far away from other people’s eyes. Readers stop by every day and they can see what I produced and nod or shake their head at it. I was a bit afraid, the quality of my posts would suffer. Not that I claim to write any high-quality posts, but I don’t think they’re low-quality either. ;)

In sum, I put up three posts I did not like that much (“Too many games…”, “Shopping spree in Rift” and “The online game you’ve been playing the longest”). I had feared I would publish more posts that I’d end up not liking, but three seems like a good amount for a whole month with limited time. The last of those three is also the only post I had pre-scheduled. We had friends visiting on that day and there was just no time to write a blog post on top of that and friends were more important. All other posts were published on the day I had finished writing them. My favourite post is “Jumping Puzzles: Challenging or frustrating?”. It’s also one that sparked the most discussions/conversations, even if not all of them took place here on the blog. However, I also just realized that I owe a comment to two of you in that post.

This month also made me write two posts that I’d been trying to write for some days/weeks: “Blogging in a foreign language” and “My favourite profession in Guild Wars 2″.

Throughout the month, we also got several new followers: Welcome! If you’re also a fan of Guild Wars 2, you may be interested in tomorrow’s post. ;)

My favourite part altogether was definitely the increased amount of conversations here on the blog and outside of the blog. This is one of the reasons I started blogging, after all.

Last and probably least: I also realized that I’m really bad with finding good, fitting, maybe even witty subject lines for my blog posts.

Here’s to many more months of blogging – just with a slightly decreased amount of posts each month!

Too many games…

Diablo3_paerokabetaI’m currently waiting for Diablo 3 to arrive. Unfortunately, it seems it won’t be here tomorrow, but hopefully on Thursday then. I got the game during (German) Amazon’s Cyber Monday Week… how silly is that, by the way? Cyber Monday Week. It got released in May 2012 and so far, I’ve never seen it cheap anywhere. The 25€ I paid for it now seemed like a very good deal.

In the end, this could be yet another game in a long list of games that I bought and there are so many that I really want to play, but in the end, don’t. We’re currently planning to play Diablo 3 together, just me and bookahnerk. I got the game for him when it came out and he never got far. So together we can hopefully conquer the world! I also promised I would turn off Skype, twitter, my browser while playing the game together. Fewer distractions that way and more “us time” even if we’re at the PC.

We’re also currently watching the Warlock 2 world Premiere on Twitch. Another game I definitely want to buy when it releases. But Warlock 1 is one of the few games I’ve spent lots of hours playing, so this one will probably at least have a tiny chance. ;)

I think I’d play those kinds of games (meaning: Non-MMOs) much more often if I didn’t play MMOs. Just now, I spent about an hour researching which gear I want for my mesmer after I got some superior traveller runes from ArcherAvatar! Thanks again, you made my day. :D Now I only need to find gear to put them on… hmm… And decide which class I want to play in Diablo 3.

Pondering about which profession to choose…

WoWScrnShot_041710_184501When I wrote about my favourite profession in Guild Wars 2, I was looking at the topic from a pure PvE point of view. This entry is about WvW now.

I used to play World of Warcraft on a PvP server and I always hated it. As soon as I got the chance to get away (because I founded a guild with friends on a PvE server and later transferred to join a guild that bookahnerk had been with back in Ultima Online who are also on a PvE server), I left and never looked back.

The ironic part is that I actually love open world PvP. However, and here’s the big caveat: There have to be “safe” zones and going to either (PvE or PvP) zone has to be optional. I want to decide when I want to PvP or PvE! I do not want some random player who passes by to make that decision for me. Especially since that usually meant players that were much higher in level or had much better gear and thus, much better chances than me.

Defending a tower.

Defending a tower.

I found out how much I enjoy PvP when I played Warhammer Online. For those who don’t know: The game has 4 tiers, which are basically four level ranges. Each tier had different zones that belonged to the different race pairings. For example, dwarves and greenskins. So there you were, a level 5 player in the dwarf/greenskin T1 area. You could either do your PvE – regular quests or public quests (events) – or hop into the RvR lake which was marked on the map with a brownish border. When you entered the area that was marked as RvR, you got a warning and had a few seconds time to run back in case you did not want to get flagged.

This is what I miss most in my current MMOs. The ease of joining RvR when you wanted to (PvE and PvP was on the same map in each zone) and do PvE if you wanted to do that. There were clear borders (on the map, at least, not in the world per se). Joining was as easy as setting a foot into the area.

Guild Wars 2 Mini Lion CubAll this long-winded history of my gaming habits is just here to explain what I love about “world PvP”. For some reason, Guild Wars 2’s WvW hasn’t sticked with me yet. I’ve been in there a couple of times (almost literally) and I enjoyed my time there, but it seems to be so distant from the rest of the game that I find it hard to get in there, but yesterday, ArenaNet talked about the upcoming WvW area Edge of the Mists, and it makes me want to get into WvW!

The problem here is: As much as I love melee and swords in PvE, I do not like playing melee in PvP. So, the warrior is basically out. I did think about taking my mesmer there, but I really dislike that she’s so slow… or I’d have to get builds that make use of the focus which is a reliable way of getting some swiftness. On the other hand: Maybe this weapon IS the perfect one to use in WvW?

All I know is that I want something tricky to play. The warrior is too straight-forward. I absolutely loved playing a frost mage in World of Warcraft’s Burning Crusade. That mage was about controlling, freezing, slowing, the enemies. Making sure they can’t hit you. Something like that would be great. And this is why I’m rambling about this topic. Maybe some of our readers can help me here. Which profession would resemble such a playstyle in Guild Wars 2? Maybe the engineer? Anything tricky that isn’t melee… it’s okay if it’s not easy to play. I get used to it… I hope. ;)

Criticizing Guild Wars 2

DISCLAIMER: If you want to criticize my post, feel free to do so (constructively, of course). However, if you want to do so, please READ it. Especially point 4 and its subject line: I complain about their marketing strategy. I do NOT complain about the skimpy armor. I even say so in the text. Read it, then complain about the actual content and not about what you THINK I wrote. Thank you. :)

First things first, as a regular or even casual reader of our blog, you’re well aware of the fact that I’m a huge fan of the game. But let’s be honest: the game isn’t perfect and I know it never will be a perfect game. Why? Several reasons. For one, no game is ever perfect. They’re too complex to get them bug-free and especially MMORPGs evolve and get content added, mechanics changed, etc. All of that means plenty of risks for adding new bugs. But even when not looking at bugs, there just can’t be a perfect game out there simply because there are too many players who all like and dislike different aspects. Some won’t accept a game without PVP in every region, others need their weekly raid evenings, and so on. That means that we will always have people argue about a game and its (lack of) perfection. And it also means that the probability of a game company developing a game in exactly the way that I want is very slim/non-existing.

Guild Wars 2 is still in beta, so bugs are to be expected. In general, I am always very careful when criticizing games in beta. It is a work in progress, after all, and I wouldn’t want to hurt a game’s – and company’s – reputation by writing something too negative about the game before it’s even been released. On the other hand, if we never speak up and say what we dislike, how are the developers supposed to know what the players think of something? There’s a reason companies have beta tests and ask for feedback.

Having said all that (should my intros be shorter, I wonder…), I’m now going to list a few things about Guild Wars 2 that I know will annoy me – more or less strongly – and that will probably make the game less perfect for me – but not “bad”! That’s a big and important difference.

1) Mystic Chests
Syp over at Massively wrote a good piece about lockboxes in MMOs. To be honest, I was shocked when I saw my first lockbox in Guild Wars 2. I’ve always found it cheap when games had those and it was disappointing to see it appear in this game. While there may not be any “advantage” in there, I still think it’s a terrible way to earn money. What annoys me is the whole gambling part: You never know if spending money on yet another key will result in you getting that special item from the lockbox.

If you ask me, it’s abusing a weakness of us humans when it comes to calculating probabilities. Some spend 50 times 1 dollar trying to get a specific reward and end up empty-handed instead of just buying it for 35 dollars, for example… mostly because there is the probability (albeit a very, very low one) that they might get it on their first try and end up having spent only 1 dollar. And then they spend another dollar, and another and another and at some point, they think that now they have to finally get it, right? And they have already invested so much money that quitting would mean they have simply lost their investment without earning anything.

Bookahnerk has also found an interesting comment about this system on Reddit, where a poster mentioned Lunia and that in this game, you drop keys and need to buy the boxes from the shop. It sounds less tempting this way. After all, you don’t have the “item” wrapped in a box in your inventory already. You only have a key. And if you ever feel like getting a box to use this key, it’s fine. And if not, no harm done because there’s no item rotting in your inventory, just a key. Yes, I’m aware of the fact that it’s technically exactly the same thing. But the perception is a different one. And I’m pretty certain that there’d be less temptation to buy boxes whereas if you have lockboxes drop in your game, your players will probably buy more keys from the shop than they would buy boxes for the dropped keys. We’re curious and can’t calculate probabilities correctly (well, I’m sure a lot of people can but from personal experience, I’d say that this is the minority). In other words: It’s an easy way to earn money. But from where I stand, it’s cheap and dirty.

However, this is me criticizing something I haven’t seen the full scope of so far. We do not yet know enough about what will be in the lockboxes (exclusive items or not), if they will have keys drop in the game, if the lockboxes have a (e.g.) 90% chance of including another key (I think I read somewhere that a player found a key inside together with an item), if we’ll be able to sell the items we find in the lockboxes, etc. I’m just saying I really dislike this general concept, but I am curious how they will handle it specifically.

2) Voice of female norn

Norn are supposed to be really tall. And with that, naturally, comes a deeper voice than we would expect from the average human. If I hear the voice without looking at the screen, it fits and it sounds like a wonderful choice, but once I see the norn’s doll-like face, I’m not so sure anymore. It just doesn’t fit to hear her with such a low voice. But maybe this isn’t a problem with the voice at all but rather with the next point…

3) Idealized female characters

I’ve mentioned it before, to which Kadomi had reacted as well. ArenaNet’s stance can be found in this interview:

Univers-Virtuels: So, at the moment the humans are very young and it’s not possible to make it older as a character, or it will be possible to turn off the make up for woman?
Kristen: I’m not sure, we have some variety in there, but largely we want an idealized beautiful base face, so I think the humans are probably going to remain within a certain spectrum.”

I was happy to see that they have added one face that makes the character look a bit older. Then you can further customize it by changing the look of the nose, mouth, chin, etc. But that is only for the human and it’s only one face. The others still have that certain doll-like look. It’s especially annoying for norn because they’re tough! It seems weird to have them appear with a doll-face. I also don’t like the sound of “idealized beautiful base face”. Yes, this idealization is what we’re seeing in women’s magazines every day. This is what’s called one of the reasons for the rise of eating disorders (in women and men)… I understand that they want to add beautiful faces. I would assume that more people choose those faces than faces that the general public wouldn’t call “pretty”, “beautiful” or something like that. I just do not get why they refuse to add some more regular faces. Especially as the question above was aiming at faces “without that much make-up”. Either way, I will go for the regular face they have added because I find it more believable (ah yes, I know we’re in a fantasy setting, so theoretically everything is possible and thus, believable. But still…). On the other hand, we can see that you can go for some extremes when creating your characters. I’m not sure they would call the nose that you can see in the screenshot “idealized beauty”. But at least, we can reenact Cyrano de Bergerac. ;)

I will most likely play asura and charr as my main characters, so it won’t bother me that much. And I do like having a pretty doll character – but I would really love to have more variety. What is the harm in having an older face (one with wrinkles or just more defined facial features)? After all, they are in the game for the male characters. They have added one face for the female humans, though. So there is still hope we could maybe see something like that for the norn as well. Something that makes them more equal to the choices we have for male characters.

4) Armor and ArenaNet’s marketing strategy

As mentioned above, Kadomi wrote about the faces but in the same entry, she also addresses the “armor issue” which goes hand in hand with the idealized faces (and she says it much better than I will here, so if you’re interested in this topic, go read her blog post about it). Why do they present the female characters in suspenders? A word, by the way, that I only learned now thanks to Guild Wars 2 – that is, the English term for it, of course. What does it tell you about a game that teaches me the English terms of “sexy underwear” (“Reizwäsche” in German, by the way… in case you were wondering). I’m not happy with them presenting this as the typical clothing for some of their classes (mesmer and elementalist most of all) as this is what the characters look like when creating them.

After playing for a bit, I did get to see cloth armor that wasn’t as revealing and they have a system in place that makes it possible for me to merge the better stats of an item onto a piece of clothing that I like. So I’m not annoyed that they have revealing armor in the game. I am annoyed, however, that they presented us only this sexy underwear as armor. And even though there was a large outcry (not just from me, I might add!) in their fanbase, they did not add pictures of different armor in order to show us that when they said we would have choices, they didn’t just mean “a choice between a bra or bikini top”.

5) No scenery screenshots
This is something that makes me grind my teeth and scratch my head. I just don’t get this decision at all. ArenaNet doesn’t want us to take screenshots of the scenery without featuring our own character because they want us to get attached to our character. I love looking at screenshots of the game’s world but I am not interested in looking at some person’s character at the same time. This doesn’t interest me at all. Also, I do get attached to my character and if I want to take a screenshot of “me in Lion’s Arch”, I will do so. But if I want to take a screenshot of “this nice windmill”, then please let me do that without having “me in front of this nice windmill that you can’t see because my dear character is blocking the view”. There is a workaround, by the way. You can either /sleep or /sit and then work with the camera angle to get a screenshot without your character on it. I used /sit for my screenshots and unfortunately, my charr’s horns can be seen in a few of them. Oh well. Most of the time, it works just fine but why do we have to resort to such a workaround in the first place? Guild Wars 1 allowed us to zoom in and I haven’t heard anybody complain about the game and its design because we can do that.

While this workaround is fine for taking screenshots, video makers need to ability to move around without having their own character centered all the time. Machinimas probably won’t work in Guild Wars 2 and that’s just really, really sad if you ask me. There’s a not too old discussion about this on GuildWars2Guru.

And that’s it for today. All in all, it’s not a “list of things gone horribly wrong” or something like that. It’s just some things that bug me and that I wanted to get out of my system. I have to say, however, that the inability of taking screenshots or making videos without having my character in the center is the biggest issue I have here. The other parts probably won’t spoil my general fun in the game (especially the marketing – who cares about that in a year, right?) but taking pretty screenshots is what I really enjoy. I have a ton of screenshots from all sorts of MMOs I’ve ever played or tried out stored on an external hard drive and I’ve taken 640 screenshots in Guild Wars 2 so far and that was after only playing for 4 days! And most of those screenshots are from Lion’s Arch… I can’t wait for doing the same in Hoelbrak, Divinity’s Reach, Black Citadel,… (but next time, I will choose a character without horns! Asura would be perfect… *hint*)

Being at the EUFanDay – or: Musings about ArenaNet’s game philosophy

As you, my dear readers, may have noticed already, I was invited to the EUFanday in Brighton. Yeah, okay, there’s no way you can have missed that. ;) When we got this invitation, we were… flattered. The next question, however, was: Who will go? Bookahnerk or me? Once that was settled (it was an ugly fight, I can tell you! ^^ ), I was very much looking forward to it. Then I saw the NDA… we weren’t allowed to talk or write about our game experience. As you have also very likely noticed, the NDA was lifted by now. However, that only happened after our return back home. During those two days in Brighton, the NDA still stood and we were reminded of it several times. When the EUFanDay was finally announced on Twitter (we had, of course, been invited a few weeks before that), I saw various reactions. Quite a few people were confused and wondered what this was all about. More importantly: They wondered what they would have to do in order to be able to go and why ArenaNet announced it so close to the actual date. In other words: I think that announcement and the title of the event were a bit misleading: It was an invitation-only event and while most of us who had gotten invited were fans, not everybody there was a fan and follower of Guild Wars 2. We’re all gamers and MMO-players, of course! However, a “regular fan”, that is, one without a blog or a fan site, didn’t have a chance to be invited. I would have wished for a clearer announcement or clarification what this was all about.

Anyway, I also saw people claiming this was a press-event. I even saw people call us “journalists”. No, I’m not. And just think about the last beta event where the press didn’t have the NDA and were allowed to report about the game. We, clearly, didn’t see us as press (at least, the people I talked with about this) and we weren’t treated like press either as the NDA was firmly in place! So we didn’t see ourselves as press and apparently, so didn’t ArenaNet. I have to admit, I was a bit confused why we were brought there. Why had they invited us? And what could we write about once we got home? Well, apart from the interview, of course. After talking with a few others, I knew that I wasn’t alone in my frustration (which, by now, is gone because they did change their mind and allowed us to freely talk about our game experience) and my wondering why we were there.

On the first day, however, not long after we had arrived in the Lighthouse, which was the building in which we got to play Guild Wars 2, Stéphane kind of gave me an answer to my “identity crisis as far as being a blogger was concerned”: I had just gotten a cup of coffee and stood there sipping on it when I heard Stéphane talk to others. I don’t know what had been said or asked before and I didn’t write down Stéphane’s answer so I’m paraphrising here. According to him, for ArenaNet an MMORPG consists of two things: One is the game itself. But this game alone (that is, Guild Wars 2 in our case) is not an MMORPG. Only when you add “the community”, you get an MMORPG. Without the community, it’s not an MMO! And that’s what ArenaNet has been trying to design.

I guess you can see it in the steps they have taken so far: There is the game which doesn’t require people to play a certain way. It doesn’t require them to fight over loot or crafting nodes. Everybody gets something. We’re not rivals nor in competition with each other. They tried to design the game in a way that it supports building friendships, teams, people helping each other without jumping through hoops first (e.g., you can help somebody kill a tough mob and you’ll get a reward even if you weren’t in the same group!). They’re trying to make it easy to collaborate and play together (no groups necessary, no holy trinity). They’re trying to get rid of artificial barriers (e.g., raiding equipment, PvP equipment etc. You can get your gear the way you prefer – that is, through crafting PvE or PvP. I’ve written about their design philosophy not too long ago. So that’s the in-game part.

When you look at how they interact with their fans, future customers and players, you can see a similar treatment. After last year’s GamesCom, we also wrote about their interaction with fans. They, the developers of the game, were in the masses watching and observing people trying out the demo. They were also there and answered questions, listened to feedback. It wasn’t this one-dimensional way of players writing on forums, giving feedback or asking questions without receiving answers and not knowing if the developers even read their postings. Here, at GamesCom, they could talk to them, hear answers and make sure their feedback was heard!

As I said, we’re not press. The press’s expertise is writing about games, reporting, reviewing. We as bloggers and fan sites do the same. However, we have the freedom to be a lot more subjective when writing (hence, this rant! ^^). We are also much closer to the community. We ARE the community (in the sense of being a part of it which the press often isn’t). Maybe you remember Martin Kerstein’s posting about building community. I quote one, for me, important sentence:

“The main goal is to be inclusive, not exclusive, to encourage collaboration between communities, and to generate an atmosphere that is helpful, friendly, and above all, respectful.”

So, what longwinded-me is trying to say here is that this whole philosophy of having a game AND a great community seemed to be a reason why we had been invited. The collaboration aspect is one I could see clearly after we had all returned from Brighton. I don’t think I have ever “retweeted” that many people’s blog posts (and in some cases, in languages I don’t even understand) or seen as many trackbacks to my own blog posts. Also, Tasha Darke and Dutch Sunshine from GuildMag worked together to transcribe the interview we had together. Each posted half of the interview on their individual site. Tasha also mentions this in one of her blog entries:

“Dutch and I spoke about various aspects of working together for the better of the community when things line up, the start of which we saw yesterday when we split the load for transcribing the Q and A.”

For them, it worked out just fine: They each only had to do half of the work and both got the “hits” by people visiting their sites (though I don’t think either of them really cares about the latter!). And what did you, their readers, the game’s fans, the rest of the community, get from this? Easy answer: You got to read the interview a whole lot sooner than you would have if they hadn’t split the work! In other words, if we’re working together, collaborating, it’s a winning situation for everybody. ;) And a lot more fun if you ask me!

So for me, this EUFanDay was only partly about getting to play the game. By and large, it was about meeting people that I’d gotten to know online before (or not, as there were people that I’d never interacted with before) and getting to talk about our hobby (Guild Wars 2 as well as blogging/writing).

Apart from the community aspect, there was one other (though related) part: We got to meet the European Community Managers! Who here had even realised we got them before? I had seen their names mentioned in a Tweet and on Facebook. But I had tried to find out more about them, who they are etc. and hadn’t been too successful. You can see them tweet or write on Facebook (something was written by Aidan Taylor if the message ends with “AT” and by Mélanie Corolleur if it ends with “MC”). For us Europeans, having European CMs is great (not culture-wise because Martin and Stéphane are originally from Europe anyway) because they’re in our timezone! It’s a much more direct interaction. They’ve also already said that they will be at this year’s GamesCom, so if you want to meet them in person, make sure to be there!

I’m going to finish my rant now with a short bit of feedback about this trip, a few more pictures and a picture gallery of the Rytlock figure for you guys (the one holding it is Kronos from Onlinewelten, by the way, with whom I had never interacted before the EUFanDay even though I’d been reading on the GW2-Onlinewelten page every now and then).

The trip itself was much too short: It seemed chaotic and rushed at times. I would have loved to have more time to figure out my skills before being thrown into a PvP match but we always had the ticking clock at the back of our minds (there was the scheduled interview and the dinner reservation at the restaurant!). The interview itself had been a bit disappointing because we hadn’t known before that we only got to ask one question per person. Of course, having 25 people with questions in a room means that we can’t actually ask that many. But it was still a bit unsatisfying. From an outstanding person’s view, little was known about the event and I’ve seen people think that we’d return with a big announcement or secret to reveal. If you still think so, I have to disappoint you. What you’ve gotten to read about the event by now is really all we can tell as nothing else was shared with us. There is no announcement and no secret being held back.

The positive parts greatly outweigh those negative ones, though. First of all, I had fun and I enjoyed myself. The flight, hotel and food was paid for and none of those seemed even remotely cheap! Whenever we had any problems while playing the game, we had somebody help us out within a few seconds (my headset was broken and it was replaced within five minutes). There was plenty of food around and coffee, too! Aidan and Mélanie bent over backwards to make sure we were all happy and satisfied. On Monday evening, at 11.30pm, when Aidan was already tired, he still went to the beach with us. Of course, this hadn’t been part of the official schedule but we had mentioned wanting to go there after dinner and he went with us, so we wouldn’t get lost. At no point did those two seem to “just be doing their job”. I don’t think I ever saw any of them without a smile on their face! So, I wish to thank them once more for doing such a great job and taking such good care of us (feel free to show that to your superior, Aidan, whose name I’ve forgotten, unfortunately. ^^)! Also, Matthew Moore was very funny and goofy, especially together with Stéphane while they were taking the group pictures (I have no idea how many we took but about half of us brought their camera to them so they would take a picture of us with them).

To finally get to an end of my posting: If your goal was to introduce us to the EU community managers and help us connect with other European fan sites and blogs, then you all did an amazing job here! Oh, and yeah, the game’s quite nice, too. ;)